How To Modernize Your Legacy System And Why Do It

by Lauren Schneidewind on January 13, 2017

One of the 21st century’s challenges is to keep up with the fast pace of the digital era. Technology is constantly changing and developing.

Your company’s system specifications may have been modern five years ago. However, today the business environment demands new requirements. If you want to continue growing your business and meeting customer expectations, then you need to adapt your IT infrastructure.

The process of updating or replacing a legacy system may look risky. However, there is a simple path that will ensure a smoother transition.

Change the focus from cost to value.

Everyone agrees that the price of changing a system is high. However, experts calculate that working with an old system costs much more money than adopting a new one. Moreover, if a company replaces an outdated system without delay, they will enjoy the efficiency and competitive advantage of the new system sooner.

Don’t postpone modernization.

“If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” says a popular cliché. Unfortunately, company executives are still ready to listen to it. Such an attitude towards Information Technology, especially shown by organizations whose work is vital for society such as banks and financial institutions, can be devastating. Since the transition to a new system takes time (years, to be precise), the question is can you afford to postpone the change.

Create a strategy.

First, you need to outline a detailed plan for how you are going to implement the new technology into your existing processes. Keep the focus on your major goals - innovation and growth. While crafting your plan, remember to align it with the five pillars of success: strategy, methodology, technology, implementation, and adoption.

Work closely with your team.

Your role as a leader is to guide your team through the transition period and make sure all the necessary steps are taken correctly. Arrange training, monitor the progress of each employee, and devote additional time to working with those who transition more slowly. Have in mind that at first team productivity may drop slightly. Acclimating to a new system takes time.

Split the transition into phases.

Transition is a challenge all at once. So, it will be easier and not so painful to replace the outdated system with a modern one in phases. First, make all employees understand the necessity of moving to a new IT system or infrastructure. Then, encourage them to start working with the new technology, while still allowing them to access the old one. The result will be a smoother transition for the whole organization.

There are several reasons why turning a blind eye to legacy technology could jeopardize your business:

  • Losing customers.

    There are numerous examples of how software has transformed customer relations. Your company’s future may depend on the ability to offer better services to customers than your competitors.

  • Affecting partnerships.

    Moving to updated technology in one organization is not enough to ensure business success unless all partners transform their legacy systems. Each of the connected companies may leverage software in their unique, innovative way, which changes service quality and product distribution, or the way materials are sourced.

  • Losing confidence in your brand.

    Most companies decide to postpone a legacy technology update, having a false confidence in systems that still work. They’ll need to be prepared for the time when a failure or severe error occurs.  Waiting too long may cause irretrievable system breakdowns and lead to a lack of confidence in your brand.

  • Losing staff that can maintain a legacy system.

    This is not a simple HR issue but a problem that affects the whole organization. At some point, you will lose the staff that knows how to work with older technology. The young generation of tech workers is usually more up-to-date with new trends and will consider it useless to learn a system that is stuck in the past.

  • Your competitors will leave you behind.

    If your competitors have anticipated the need for change and have modernized their legacy system, then you have to hurry. Otherwise, your business will simply be left behind.

  • Develop better metrics.

    One of the conditions for running a successful business is the ability to receive accurate metrics. If your data is reliable and you can access it relatively fast, then your company will be capable of adequately responding to the changing market conditions. Older systems have a difficult time keeping up with data reliability.

Even if keeping the status quo still looks acceptable on the surface, the best decision a company can make is to modernize their systems. Having a strategy allows for a smoother transition. Ultimately, modernization keeps your business competitive through a better customer experience, more reliable data, fewer headaches for employees, and a positive influence on your brand.

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